- Jones Abiri claimed he saw Sambo Dasuki in SSS detention
- The journalist said he was treated badly in detention
- He called on the president to assess the treatment of detainees
Jones Abiri has spoken about his experience in the State Security Service (SSS) detention, describing his two-year incarceration as a terrible experience.
In an interview with Premium Times, the journalist claimed he also saw former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki in detention.
He said he was accused of being a member of a militant group which led to his arrest and detention.
Asked how his experience was like, he said: “Very unfortunate. While I was in the detention facility of the SSS, underground where I was kept; there was no freedom of moving out of the facility.
“When the light is off, I will not even recognise the person who is sitting in front of me until when the light returns, that is when we would start moving within the facility. We were about 26 of us that were in the facility and the room is about 12 by 12 which is not up to some prominent Nigerian’s parlour.
“That was where we were being kept and though the ground was tiled, nothing was on top of the tiles for us to have a conducive environment. We demanded for cartons before they could even bring in the carton for us to use part of it to lay our heads.
“That was the hostile nature of my being in the hands of SSS and if you talk in terms of food, medical and other things, I was severally denied of my right to medication. I was not given proper medical care but since I could not do anything, I continued to rely on my creator. And thank God, God saw me through and you see the little (frail) body (pointing at himself), at this material time, if not I would have been a dead man.”
According to him, breakfast was mostly tea with N50 bread and one sachet milk which cost N30, lunch was either beans or rice and the evening, they were served semo with soup or wheatmeal or eba (cassava meal).
Asked if he was tortured, Abiri said: “When I was arrested on the 21st of July and brought to their office, a state command in Yenagoa; my eyes were blindfolded and they asked me to stay glued to the wall. So I did that but did not know what was happening.
“The next thing I heard was something that struck on my back and I fell down. That is why my spinal cord, (pointing at his waist) this my waist; I cannot stand for a very long time. That is why I want to hurriedly go home to ensure that proper medication is administered before the next date of my trial.
“So I was tortured and through that torturing, they were able to achieve their aim. I told them that I am not a militant because of a story that I wrote. I was against the governor, most especially Bayelsa governor and the federal government. Some of the stories that were published in my newspaper were ‘antagonistic’ and many of them were investigated before it was published and some were gotten online.
“I believe that was what angered the government to have arrested me by linking me up with those men to write a press statement, so that they would be able to achieve their aim.”
Asked if he saw Sambo Dasuki in detention, Abiri said: “I met Dasuki in there but not in the same cell. You know he is a big fish but where he is now; there is no toilet, so anytime he is pressed, they take him outside; so through that process we were able to see him, there was a time I physically met him and shook hands, he was coming to ease himself, by then I was at the room up.
“That is where they normally keep suspects after investigation after which they would be assigned to various cells. I knew of his matter before meeting him, so there was no need to discuss with him, though."
He said the president needs to be told of the activities of the State Security Service, while asking if the president is giving more power to the security outfit.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that a Bayelsa-based journalist, Jones Abiri, narrated his bitter experience in the hands of some operatives of the Department for State Services (DSS) who kept him in detention.
Speaking at the secretariat of the NUJ, Abiri told newsmen and leaders of the Civil Liberties Organisation that he was arrested in his office, detained for seven days in DSS cell in Yenagoa and later blindfolded and flown to Abuja.
He said he was kept in seclusion in an underground cell in Abuja and denied access to medical treatment for about two years.
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